As with most tasks in life, the essential part of any client/Virtual Assistant relationship is communication. You cannot get tasks completed, and goals achieved, without constant communication, and preparing your own work space is a vital step prior to hiring a Virtual Assistant. Setting up your work space for working with a Virtual Assistant is primarily focused on getting effective communication tools in place which will allow for clear and effective communication, with minimal risk of ambiguity or misunderstandings.
In this post we are going to work with the assumption that you have already created or modified your work space, have the communication systems in place, and have also hired a Virtual Assistant. What can you now do to ensure that communication is effective, and that your expected outcomes and deadlines are met?
A simple fact is that daily communication is key, from you to your Virtual Assistant and from them to you. Having them deliver quality results all the time relies on you having implemented a good system for communication, and on training the Virtual Assistant on how to use the system properly. This would require some additional effort on your part in the beginning, but that effort can be well rewarded when you find yourself with a Virtual Assistant who constantly delivers exceptional results. Two of the most efficient tools available are email and voice chat, so let us explore how to use each tool properly.
Using Email Effectively
Begin each week with an email to your Virtual Assistant in which you outline the tasks and deadlines for that week. Clearly state what is expected for each task, and when you expect it to be completed.
Send a follow-up email each day in which you request a status update on each task, not only those due soon. Ensure that your Virtual Assistant understands that they need to respond to every email sent by you. This makes it easier for you to keep track on the progress of each task, and to intervene where necessary.
This system needs to be implemented from the very beginning, forming part of the training process. Being able to identify, through feedback, when problems occur or when a deadline is not going to be met, you will be able to assess the need for further training immediately, and to address this need faster. Avoid becoming too involved, since the most effective way to learn is through doing, and ultimately you want a Virtual Assistant who can confidently deliver.
Using Voice Chat Effectively
There will occasionally be the need to have discussion in real time, and remembering that many Virtual Assistants are not even in the same city as their clients, a voice chat client is definitely a necessity. Many voice chat clients support video calls, which is a great addition if you and your Virtual Assistant each have a good webcam.
Prior to making the call, identify the key points of discussion. Begin the conversation by stating the purpose of the discussion before proceeding to discuss the key points you identified. Remain focused and on point, you do not want to waste your or your Virtual Assistants time.
If the purpose of the call is to discuss a new deliverable, clarify the specific details before confirming with your Virtual Assistant that it can be done within your stated timeframe. End the call by asking your Virtual Assistant to send you, via email, a summary of what was discussed. This allows you to ensure that you both have the same understanding of what was discussed, and what is expected.
What we have discussed here are only two basic communication tools, and how you use each tool will vary depending on what you expect from your Virtual Assistant. Email is great for assigning tasks and setting goals and deadlines for each week, with voice chat to discuss tasks in detail or to provide specific training and clarity. Using video chat can further improve your communication, and you should never hesitate to use available technology to constantly enhance the manner in which you communicate with your Virtual Assistant.
Which tools are you using when communicating with your Virtual Assistant? Have you discovered newer technologies, and if so, how are you using them, and what benefit do you see?
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we are committed to providing earth-friendly administration and offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.
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